Shamokin and Meckley's Quarries, Pennsylvania
September 20-21, 2003
By Jay Loch

Hi Gang,

I left friday with my two kids Chris 12 and Kathryn 10. We had a safe trip and arrived around 9 pm. The first quarry open house was at Shamokin quarry, about 1 mile south on rt 109. The dig hours were from 8 am to 4 pm. After a quick stop for bagels and coffee we got there around 7:30 to find that we were second in line. My kids recognized the other car before me and yelled out " Steve " !Steve G had driven thru the nite and was sleeping waiting for opening. That was until my kids spotted him! Steve loves kids and they do return it. We got re acquainted and waited for opening. At opening there was prob 12 cars there and that is a lot less then was at the Winfield open house last year! Thats ok by me though as less hounds means more virgin ground for me to cover! It didn't work out that way though caause as the day wore on the place was crawling with hounds.

We worked our way around the bottom of the quarry till we got to the back wall. Kathyrn showed me a spot on the quarry floor where she found a nice quartz xl and we both poked around for a minute. I finally told her that we needed to cover the rest and if nothing else turned up we would head back. We found a couple of tree bark fossils and some so-so quartz on boulders so we headed back to her spot to work it.

Her spot turned out to be one of the best finds of the day! We ended up scratching out the cracks in between the rocks and found lots of good xls! It was just me and Kathryn for a while, but Chris was getting bored so I let him kinda take over my spot. They would follow the iron stained quartz in the cracks and set the bigger xls out for me to squirt off, then bucket the finer stuff so we could screen it at home. In the first 1/2 hr we had found 3 double terminated xls and several nice points, some with complex growth habits, several with inclusions also( just got home so we have not really even given them a decent once over yet! ) Around that time, one of the top dogs for eastern products showed up. He was really impressed with our finds and I enjoyed chewing the fat with him. Then he showed up with the quarry manager, who then told me that he'd never seen quartz xls that nice in there before. Then he showed up with a couple more people! By then hounds were dropping by pretty regular to see what the " BIG " find was! The place was getting a little crowded, with everybody asking me how I managed to find the xls? I let everybody know that Kathryn was the real hound after all! Just why is it that those darn kids always find the good spots and rocks!

Here is a couple of pictures of us digging!

And here is a shot of our spoil pile after a couple hours of digging.

And here is a couple of pictures of our better crystals. They are 1 x 2 inches.

Thanks to Karen for sending me the pics so quick and for even doing it! See how friendly the hounds can be! LOL! Then, once again the Eastern products person ( wish I could remember his name! ) this time he had a reporter from the local paper that wanted to take some pics of the kids and xls! We stayed there till noon then headed back to the car for lunch. One of the nice things about the Saturday dig is that the quarry has people ttransport you up and down in trucks lined with bales of straw. All they ask for is a minimum $1.00 donation and that goes to the employees christmas party.

After lunch I purused the tables of rock that the tailgaters had set up. Didn't find anything that tripped my trigger so we headed back down to collect some fossils. We all had luck splitting the shale and finding " stuff ". Fern fronds and different types of leaves. I wish I knew there names! We spent a couple of hours there and then we went in search of some Pyrite that was ruoured to also be in the bottom pit. We basically struck out there, only finding some imbedded in matrix. We finally dragged our butts out and headed home for a nice hot shower at the motel.

The next day we headed to the quarry open house in Mandata at Mecklies Quarry with the hrs being from 12 till 4 pm. We met up with a couple from our local club Frank and Gail M. at the motel and got to the quarry at 11:30. This dig is qurry is most noted for its blue celestite. We found plenty of that in viens with pockets up to 3 inches. The biggest xl that we found was close to an inch. It was rhombehedral in form. We also found a couple small pockets with some that look like scalenahedron type xls. We also found a few that where yellow/green in color. we hunted for celestite till around 3 then I went in search of some stontianite. Its not that common at this quarry but I did manage to find a couple small boulders and get a couple of decent piece extracted from them. The strontianite from here is not the nice acicular balls like what was found at the winfield quarry but is close, having a weathered appearence to them.

That was it! We packed up at 3:45 and headed for home.I hope you all enjoyed the report. Also hope my first attempt at posting pics works!